Paul Goze, the president of the LNR, does not like the ways of doing World Rugby. - DOMINIQUE FAGET / AFP

  • By formalizing Thursday the extension of the international window, World Rugby drew the wrath of French clubs and the LNR.
  • They believe that this extended range risks harming their interests.

There was little chance that the pill would pass so easily in the throats of the presidents of clubs and of the League. The National Rugby League has sent a "formal notice" to World Rugby, which without its agreement amended rule 9 governing the availability of internationals, in order to extend the window of the autumn tests, learned Thursday l 'AFP corroborating sources. The LNR gives notice to the world body, summoning it, "within eight days", to "specify the conditions under which World Rugby decisions are taken".

For lack of response, the League evokes "all the legal consequences relating to formal notices", without further clarification. The LNR, which manages the French professional championships (Top 14 and Pro D2), criticizes World Rugby for having modified the international calendar "without any real consultation with the professional leagues and in particular the LNR".

A (very) extended international window

The extension of the international window to seven weeks, including one of rest, from the weekends of October 24 to December 5, instead of the three usually scheduled, is "unacceptable" for French clubs to which it "would cause considerable economic damage. while they are already very severely affected by the Covid-19 health crisis, ”writes the lawyer for the LNR.

It is to replenish the funds of the Federations, also undermined by the pandemic, that World Rugby voted on Thursday for this exceptional arrangement, which should allow the European selections to complete the Six Nations Tournament interrupted in March, then to organize an unprecedented tournament which could include two invited nations (Fiji, Japan or Georgia).

The Top 14 clubs, which employ French internationals but also foreigners (Fijians, Georgians, Argentines, South Africans), believe they have already agreed to "a very significant effort" by accepting five international matches instead of the usual three.

The clubs prepare their response

But the French Rugby Federation (FFR) believes that it "must comply with the edict of this international rule" and therefore organize six matches, also desired by the coach of the XV of France Fabien Galthié. In reaction, it is not impossible that the Top 14 clubs, through the voice of the LNR, only make 30 players available to the coach instead of the 42 they agreed to release so far. If they do not want to put sticks in the wheels of the XV of France three years before the World Cup in France, the presidents of the Top 14 believe, however, that their requests should at least be heard.

The NRL also fears that the modification of rule 9 predisposes for the following seasons "the organization of a new international calendar" detrimental to the Top 14, which would see "a reduction in the number of dates, a concentration over a shorter period and a shift to the summer months ”.


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  • Sport
  • LNR
  • Top 14
  • XV of France
  • Rugby